Every week we have communion at my father’s old table. It is a potluck style meal where we get together to remember what Jesus has done for us. Last night we had a more traditional expression of that sacrament in response to a friend’s good news regarding a tumor that was benign. When we were being served, we laughed and we were jovial, delighting in what Jesus has done.
Purpose over Ritual
Here are words for the ritual:
The Lord himself ordained this holy sacrament. He commanded His disciples to partake of the bread and wine, emblems of His broken body and shed blood. This is His table. The feast is for His disciples. Let all those who have with true repentance forsaken their sins, and have believed in Christ unto salvation, draw near and take these emblems, and, by faith, partake of the life of Jesus Christ, to your soul’s comfort and joy. Let us remember that it is the memorial of the death and passion of our Lord; also a token of His coming again. Let us not forget that we are one, at one table with the Lord.
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who out of Your tender mercy gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption: hear us, we most humbly beseech You. Grant that, as we receive these Your creatures of bread and wine according to the holy institution of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, in remembrance of His passion and death, we may be made
partakers of the benefits of His atoning sacrifice. We are reminded that in the same night that our Lord was betrayed, He took bread and, when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” May we come before You in true humility and faith as we partake of this holy sacrament. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We didn’t recite these words last night. We could have, and it would have been lovely. We could have read Isaiah 53:4-5. But here is the thing: We observed this sacrament in the way we did as a response to what Jesus did in the lives of the Filippelli family. When they received confirmation that a tumor was benign, the response came quick and purposeful. “We get to celebrate at Abel House!” was an actual reaction to the news. Then came a text message:
So, as a response to what God has done in their life, we celebrated it with what Jesus did on the cross. It was at this point that the ritual was transcended into an act of worship. Life is worship and our response is sacred, because of what He has done, not because of how we do it.